It’s a long story, but we’ll keep it brief…
The Associated Presbyterian Churches (APC) exists to worship the Lord and make him known, through the preaching of his word. Although formed in 1989, the APC traces its history back to the earliest Christian missionaries in Scotland and to the sixteenth century Reformation. Since then, the Scottish Presbyterian church has seen divisions and unions, two of which are significant to the APC, the formation of the Free Church of Scotland (1843) and then the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (1893).
The APC came into being in 1989, following the failure of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland to put into practice two chapters of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Church’s Subordinate Standard.
In this way, it may be said that the APC ‘distinctives’ which caused its separate existence in May 1989 were a re-asserting in its Church Practice of chapters 20 and 26 of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Chapter 20: “Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience” states that ‘God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in any way contrary to His Word; or beside it, if matters of faith or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.’
Members of the APC valued highly this new-found experience of the right of private judgement and liberty from Church Courts, making men lords of faith and conscience’.
Chapter 26: “Of Communion of Saints” – The APC sought to re-assert this communion as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith: ‘Saints, by profession, are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offers opportunity, is to be extended to all those who in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus’.
The APC, therefore, practices fellowship with other Christians. We believe that Christians may make their own decisions on matters where the Word of God leaves them free to do so. We emphasise the importance of doctrine based on the Bible as the Supreme Standard and the Westminster Confession of Faith as the Subordinate Standard.
Today the APC has several congregations in Scotland. The APC used “associated” in its name to convey an association between the church in Scotland and formerly in Canada.